Keeping an open mind can lead to career opportunities
September 5, 2016
With bright eyes, bushy hair and reading glasses I only slightly needed, I arrived at college ready to be an English major.
I started off my freshman year sitting in the Main Library Reading Room with a stack of books that only cost a penny on Amazon.com and a vanilla latte from Espresso Royale. For the non-English majors reading this, when books are so old that no one wants to buy them anymore, they cost only one penny online.
But through a series of fortunate events, I ended up working at The Daily Illini. The newspaper is completely open and welcome to all majors, but as an English major I didn’t know if it was completely for me.
But it turned out to be. After getting outside of my comfort zone and joining a new club, I ended up finding a new major that suited me better than my old one ever did.
That’s the moral of this story. Sometimes joining a random club just for fun can impact your college career and even the jobs you pursue after college.
There are a few ways to get out of your comfort zone, and career day is a great time to start. Especially if you’re an underclassmen, look for jobs that seem fun as well as practical. Now is the time to experiment. You can always try to find a job that makes you happy and looks good on your resume. As you try to find what’s right for you, remember to be open to new ideas and possibilities.
Don’t be afraid to work at a job outside your major.
My first job at The Daily Illini was as a news reporter. When I started working on my first story, I could hardly believe it. I was interviewing strangers and writing articles, and it wasn’t something I ever thought I would do. But as I continued on in my job, I realized that I really enjoyed it. Becoming a reporter, and later a copy editor and now the news editor, was not necessarily moving outside of the realm of the English language.
But for me, it was different enough to make me take a step back and consider what I really wanted for my career.
Don’t be afraid to change your major
One obstacle I overcame was feeling like I could not change my major. Being an English major brought me so much joy. I love to read and I love to write, so I felt like I couldn’t leave. I waited until the end of my sophomore year to change my major. But it turned out that I didn’t have to give up the parts of my old major that I liked in order to become a journalism major. I was able to take my favorite parts of being an English major and use those skills to become an even better journalism major.
Just remember, your first major on campus doesn’t have to be the one that ends up on your diploma.
Don’t be afraid to have some fun
I started working at The Daily Illini mainly because I thought it would be fun. I told myself as soon as it became overwhelming and stopped being fun I would quit. But I didn’t ever stop, and I’m still having fun.
For me, getting outside of my comfort zone and trying something new was one of the best decisions I could make. I found a major that challenges me and encourages me to do new things. And following a whim and working for the newspaper opened up a career path that excites me and encourages me to succeed.
The possibilities on the campus are endless. With 1,400 Registered Student Organizations on campus, you can try something new almost anytime you want.
Claire is a Senior in Media.